Saturday, April 29, 2017

Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem?

"Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer  these things and enter into his glory?”  (Luke 24: 26 NABRE)

The Cross was a necessity for Christ for the salvation of the world.   What is a necessity for the Incarnate Jesus becomes a necessity for us.  Jesus is the Way we must walk.  He is the Truth we follow like a bright street light.  He is the life we live when we are transformed into a new creation.

Do not reject suffering in your life, brethren.   For rejection of the cross is rejection of Jesus Christ.  (Pope Benedict XVI).  No cross, no crown. No thorns, no testimony. 

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11: 29 - 30)

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Friday, April 28, 2017

The word of God continues to grow.

"The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith."  (Acts 6: 7 NABRE)

Yesterday we reflected on the Gamaliel Principle:
“So I am telling you: Hands off these men! Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it — and you better not be found fighting against God!”  (Acts 5: 38 - 39 MSG).

Today we see the vindication of the wisdom of Gamaliel.  In spite of the opposition of the Jewish leaders, we see the growth of the Faith through the power of God.  Gamaliel Principle is true. As it was then, so it is now and forever.

Do not be afraid that God will forsake you or abandon you in your calling.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

God will finish what He started.

 "For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.   But  if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”  (Acts 5: 38 - 39 NABRE)

Many years ago, I was discerning a very important project.  After sometime, I decided to consult a spiritual director.  He acknowledged that the project was tough. The only support he offered was the above Scripture (Acts 5: 38 - 39). Years after the consultation, I started to call the Scripture the "Gamaliel Principle" after the main character, Rabbi Gamaliel.  The Scripture turned out to be one of my key Scriptures in spiritual discernment. I learned this life lesson:

1.  If God is with you, it is accomplished.  No matter the obstacles, delays,
disappointments or personal weaknesses.
2.  No fear. No worry. No doubt as long as the Lord is with you.
3.  God will finish what He started. (Exodus 14: 13-14; Isaiah 13: 15; 2 Chronicles 20: 15;  Philippians 1: 6)

"Wait for the Lord, take courage;
be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!"  (Psalm 27: 14)

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If the Lord is with you, it is accomplished.

 "For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.   But  if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”  (Acts 5: 38 - 39 NABRE)

Many years ago, I was discerning a very important project.  After sometime, I decided to consult a spiritual director.  He acknowledged that the project was tough. The only support he offered was the above Scripture (Acts 5: 38 - 39). Years after the consultation, I started to call the Scripture the "Gamaliel Principle" after the main character, Rabbi Gamaliel.  The Scripture turned out to be one of my key Scriptures in spiritual discernment. I learned this life lesson:

1.  If God is with you, it is accomplished.  No matter the obstacles, delays,
disappointments or personal weaknesses.
2.  No fear. No worry. No doubt as long as the Lord is with you.

"Wait for the Lord, take courage;
be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!"  (Psalm 27: 14)

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

God offers His Holy Spirit without measure.

"We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.”  (Acts 5: 32 NABRE)

The Holy Spirit living inside us witnesses to us the living Presence of Jesus in us.  We know the Holy Spirit is in us because we experience His inspiration and power working in us.  In common everyday experiences, we congratulate someone for an accomplishment and you hear:  "To God be the glory." Or some similar affirmation.  The Holy Spirit reminds us constantly what God is doing in our lives and thereby help us to live a joyful life. (Psalm 118: 23; John 14: 26).  This new way of living came about because Abba Father raised Jesus from the dead and "exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5: 31)

God does not ration His gift of the Holy Spirit. (John 3: 34)

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I chose you.

I chose you.

"You did not choose me; I chose you. And I gave you this work: [appointed you] to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last [remain; abide]. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name."  (John 15: 16 EXB)

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16: 15).

"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters.  (Psalm 17: 50 ; 21:23 RM)

"The Church exists in order to evangelize."  (Pope Paul VI).
Are you ready to play your part?

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Monday, April 24, 2017

I chose and called you and I anointed you to go and bear fruit that will last.

"And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs."  (Mark 16: 20 NLT)

This is how St Mark the Evangelist ended his Gospel. 16 chapters.  Full of power.  In the past few days, we have heard three times from Jesus: 
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16: 15).  Today we witness the response and the results.  You may ask:  Where are the accompanying miracles today? The answer is simple:  Miracles are happening everywhere in the world as the Gospel is proclaimed with faith and power.  Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  (Hebrews 13: 8).

Today is the feast of St Mark the Evangelist.

"O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel,
grant, we pray, that we may so profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

No one can do these things unless God is with him.

"They were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness."  (Acts 4:  31 NABRE)

Two days ago, we got this command from Jesus:  "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16: 15).
Today, we see how this command can be fulfilled.   The Holy Spirit is not just Lord and Giver of life.  He is the Spirit of inspiration and power.  The dictionary defines inspiration as "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative."  This is the domain of the Holy Spirit.  Power here means the ability or capacity to do something superior to your natural ability and gifts.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Evangelization.  It is the Spirit that enables us to undertake and fulfill the command to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16: 15).
The Holy Spirit is a Gift waiting for you to be taken.  It is a Gift that keeps giving.  Ask for the Holy Spirit.  Ask for Him with passion at the beginning of your day.  Before long, you will begin to notice how He works in your life.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Do you know the ABC OF MERCY?

“Peace be with you."  (John 20: 19, 21, 26 NABRE)

Peace, Shalom is the preeminent gift of Easter.  Have you noticed that in the Gospel of today (John 20: 19 - 31), Jesus pronounced the incomparable blessing of Shalom 3 times? Before you can enjoy this peace, you must be touched by the Mercy of God.

The universal Church celebrates today the Solemnity of Divine Mercy. (Always 2nd Sunday of Easter).  Jesus is the Face of Mercy of Abba Father.  Mercy is the name and essence of God the Father revealed to us through His Only Son, Jesus the Christ. The open Heart of Jesus is the symbol and seat of Mercy.  Mercy is promised to all. 

To prepare yourself to receive and retain Mercy, you must follow the ABC OF MERCY.  It is called  ABC because, it is an acronym that can be remembered easily and secondly it is as simple as ABC.

A:  Ask for Mercy.
B:  Be Merciful.
C:  Completely Trust Jesus for Mercy.

It is as easy and as simplistic as the Sacraments.  They are God’s mighty weapons, powerful enough to destroy Satanic strongholds.  (2 Corinthians 10: 4)

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Believe and share the Gospel.

 “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16: 15).

This is the command of Jesus to every Christian.  Since nobody can give that which he has not, to preach the Good News, you must have it.  After the Resurrection, the Apostles did not have the Gospel.  They did not believe Mary Magdalene who witnessed to them that Christ has risen indeed.  They did not believe the two disciples whom Jesus met on the road to Emmaus.  (Luke 24: 13 - 32)

Jesus "rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised."  (Mark 16:  14).  Faith comes through hearing.  Thomas, the Apostle wanted to see the Risen Jesus before he could believe the testimony of others.   Are you a Thomas? (John 20: 25).   "Do not be unbelieving, but believe,”  Jesus said to the Thomases. (John 20: 27).

"Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  (John 20: 29).   Belief and witnessing go hand in hand. If you believe the witnessing of others, people will believe your own witnessing.
Easter Season is the time to ask for faith to believe.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Come and have breakfast.

"Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him,  “No.”   So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”  (John 21: 5 - 6 NABRE).

We strive and struggle and strain to make a living or to get our hearts' desires.  Meanwhile Jesus who knows exactly what we need and when we need it is waiting for us.  “Come, have breakfast.” (John 21: 12).  The astonished disciples could not believe their eyes or ears.  Yet, this is not the first time in the Gospel that Jesus manifests such tenderness. 
"He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat."  (Mark 6: 31).  All the years I slaved for a corporate giant, I never got such an invitation from any of my bosses.

"Keep safe, O Lord, we pray,
those whom you have saved by your kindness that, redeemed by the Passion of your Son they may rejoice in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever."

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

"He opened their minds to understand the scriptures."  (Luke 24: 45 NABRE)

After the Resurrection, Jesus opened the minds of His apostles to understand the Scriptures.  Unless the Lord Builds the House, they labor in vain who builds it. (Psalm 27: 1).  Unless the Lord opens your mind to understand the Scriptures you read and study the Scriptures in vain.  (Cf Luke 24: 45).  In vain you burn the midnight oil and buy expensive commentaries.
Ask the Lord repeatedly in prayer to open your mind to understand the Scriptures.

Remember:  The word of God is the sword of the Spirit.  (Cf Ephesians 6: 17).  Cultivate the friendship of the the Holy Spirit.  "For wisdom opened mouths that were mute and gave eloquence to the tongues of infants."  (Wisdom 10: 20 - 21 NABRE)

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In the Name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk.

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”  (Acts 3: 6 NABRE)

The crippled man rose and walked.

The very Name of Jesus represents three spiritual realities:
#1.  It is the Person of Jesus.
#2.  It is the Power of Jesus.
#3.  It is the Presence of Jesus.
You may call it the 3 P's of the Name of Jesus: Person, Power, Presence.

The Name Jesus in Hebrew is Yeshua.  It means God saves.  The Name Jesus causes what it signifies.  It brings about salvation:  Salvation from sin and sin induced disorders.  The Name of Jesus is a powerful weapon against evil spirits. 

Miracles happen when the Name of Jesus is invoked with faith.   Do you know that the Name of Jesus is a complete prayer?   "Jesus Son of David have mercy on me."  In emergency, you can simply pray: JESUS.  This invocation brings the Presence, Power and Person of Jesus to you.  It is not magic.  You must invoke it with faith.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

"If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God;
mind the things that are above, alleluia."  (Colossians 3: 1-2 RM)

The above Scripture is one of the Easter Season constants.  Why? We have risen with Christ. We are new creation. We have received the Holy Spirit to help us live in a new way.  Are you ready for the adventure with the Risen Savior? Brace yourself for an exciting time with Jesus.  Discover Him in:

#1. Sacred Scripture
#2. Join small faith sharing group
#3.  Accept the gift of Daily Mass
#4.  Share your special gifts with your Church community

"This is the day (Season) the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it."  (Psalm 118: 24). Alleluia, Alleluia.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Lord has risen as He said.

“Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”  (Matthew 28: 10 NABRE)

Today is Monday in the Octave of Easter. After 40 Days of Lent, we enjoy 50 Days of celebration till the Solemnity of Pentecost.  It is a time to relax, enjoy and be happy because Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead.  And you are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5: 17)

How do you witness to the Resurrection of Jesus? How do you recognize the Risen Christ?
#1.  In the Scriptures
#2.  In the Eucharist
#3.  In the Poor and Needy

Start by growing your faith through deeper commitment to daily prayer, daily study of Holy Scriptures and more days with the Lord in the Eucharist.

"Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know."  (Acts 2: 22)

Jesus is yearning to do great wonders through you.  Will you allow Him?

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

I have risen, and I am with you still.

"I have risen, and I am with you still, alleluia." (Entrance Antiphon)

Today is the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017.

Too wonderful for us this experience. The Lord is truly risen, alleluia. To Him be glory and power for all ages of eternity.  Alleluia!

Brethren, let us lift up our hearts to God:

"God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today raise us up and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

Abundant Peace and Joy of Easter to you all. 💒 🌹🌼💟

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Friday, April 14, 2017

The stone the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.

"The Lord is truly risen, Alleluia. 
To Him be glory and power for all the ages of eternity, Alleluia, Alleluia!"   (Luke 24: 34; Cf Revelation 1: 6 RM)

"Today is Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil - April 15, 2017. 

 raised Jesus from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.   He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen — by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead." 
(Acts 10:40-41 NIV)

"And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead."   (Acts 10:42 NLT)

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever." (Psalm 118: 1)

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jesus gave His life as an offering for sin.

“Are you the king of the Jews?”  (John 18: 33 NABRE)
"Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18: 36)

Today is Good Friday, April 14, 2017.  The Church celebrates the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world."  Think of it:  If the Kingdom of Jesus belongs to this world, no Christian will ever experience poverty or illness.  But we are affected by the conditions of this fallen world as much as others.

St Paul encourages his followers with these words:  "Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything."  (2 Corinthians 6: 10 NLT).  What does this mean? Christ Jesus died today on the Cross for a weightier goal than silver and gold, Mercedes and BMW, Palaces and Mansions, a 6-figure salary.

Jesus died that we may know the true nature of God, grow to love Him intensely, serve Him and at the end of our earthly life enjoy life everlasting with Him in Heaven.  Mary the Mother of Jesus understood this.  She was poor, humble and insignificant until her death. Look at her net worth and recognition today.  All the saints have similar understanding of the nature of the Kingdom Jesus died for.  They gave up ashes to possess forever genuine Gold.

Salvation, glory, and power to the Lord Jesus Christ!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This is the Chalice of the New Covenant in My Blood.

"How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me? I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord."  (Psalm 116:  12 - 13 NABRE)

Today is Holy Thursday, the beginning of the Triduum, the three most holiest days in Church Calendar.  Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Institution of the Eucharist and the Sacred Priesthood by Jesus Christ, our Eternal High Priest.

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”  (Exodus 12: 14 RM)

In gratitude for so great a gift, the People of God (us) responds:
"I will offer a sacrifice of praise
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people."  (Psalm 116:  17 - 18)

Salvation, glory, and power to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hail O Cross, Our Only Hope!

"Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests  and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver."  (Matthew 26: 14 - 15)

On Wednesday of the Holy Week 2017, the word of God presents for our reflection: Sin, Betrayal and Repentance.
The word "Betrayal" is used in today's Gospel, Matthew 26: 14 - 25 six times.  You may call it:  Betrayal Wednesday in Holy Week.  So what do you think of the mystery of sin and betrayal?

Every single sin is a betrayal of Jesus.  What is your price? What is it that you love and prefer to Jesus? That is the price you ask for your sin or betrayal.

Awake, O sinner, and arise from your sleep, and Christ will give you light.  (Cf Ephesians 5: 14)

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Hail to You, our King, led to Your crucifixion like a gentle Lamb.

"Before birth the Lord called me, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name."  (Isaiah 49: 1 NABRE)

He shall be called Jesus. (Cf Matthew 1: 21; Luke 1: 31). Like Jesus, we too are called, chosen and anointed for good works.
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  (Ephesians 2: 10).

"Though I thought I had toiled in vain, for nothing and for naught spent my strength,
Yet my right is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God."  (Isaiah 49: 4)
Shake off any discouragement or sloth.  Jesus Christ our Lord and Captain, set His face as flint as He marched to Jerusalem to complete His assignment.  (Cf Luke 9: 51).  Think of the cloud of witnesses who had gone before us.  (Cf Hebrews 12: 1)

On Tuesday of Holy Week 2017, we hail our Captain Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness! (Cf Revelation 1: 5)

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Sunday, April 09, 2017

You always have the poor with you.

"You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”  (John 12: 8 NABRE)

Judas reproaches Mary, sister of Martha for a very extravagant deathday gift to Jesus.  What type of birthday present do you consider fitting for Jesus? What if you are to give Jesus a perfect deathday present, what would it be?  Your gift reveals the depth of your love.

"Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."   (Mark 12: 17).   What is it that belongs to God?  The Lord our God must be #1 in everything.  Honor Him and reverence Him above everything.  (Cf Exodus 20: 3;  Deuteronomy 5: 7).
Genuine charity realizes that what honors God does not deprive the poor.  Where love is, there is God.

Today is Monday of Holy Week, April 10, 2017.  This week is the climax of the Season of Lent.   The love of Christ impels us to finish the race.  (Cf 2 Corinthians 5: 14)

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Saturday, April 08, 2017

A Tale of Two Prisoners

“Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?"  (Matthew 27: 17 RM)

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.  Our word to live by is the above Scripture.  You may call it: A tale of two prisoners.
One is Jesus called Christ.  The other prisoner is Barabbas.
Jesus the Christ has during His public ministry healed the sick, raised the dead, fed multitudes.  Most of His public life was devoted to teaching the people.
Barabbas was a notorious criminal branded a "revolutionary."

“Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?"  (Matthew 27: 17 RM)
The crowd answered Pilate, "Barabbas."  
"Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Messiah?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!”  (Matthew 27: 22).

This is the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world.  The sacrifice of Christ will vanquish it.

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Friday, April 07, 2017

I was dead but now I am alive forever.

 “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live."  (John 11: 25 NABRE)

Jesus claims here that in His Person, you see the fulfilment of the Promise of Resurrection and Eternal life for all God's children.  As if John 11: 25 is not clear enough, Jesus said:  "Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever."  (Revelation 1: 18 NABRE)

The question is:  Do you believe this or not?  Like so many things that affect the promises of God, belief is critical.  Do you find it difficult to believe the claims of Jesus in the Gospel? Are you a cafeteria Christian? Do you pick and choose what you believe? Faith in Christ is like a seamless robe. Either you believe everything or nothing.

On Saturday in the 5th Week of Lent 2017, Do not be afraid.  Open your heart and mind to Jesus.  "Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”  (Mark 9: 24)

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

First Friday: April 07, 2017

April 07, 2017 First Friday

12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

#4.  "They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death."

The above is #4 of 12 of The  Promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary.

I consider Promise #4 a great Promise.  St Augustine says:  "If you pray well, you live well. If you live well, you die well. If you die well, all is well."  To die well therefore is what every human being must pray for.  It is already promised by the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

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Our weapon has divine power to demolish strongholds - 04/07/17

"All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
“Perhaps he can be tricked; then we will prevail, and take our revenge on him.”  (Jeremiah 20: 10 NABRE)

Relentless spiritual warfare is the norm in Christian life.  If you want to serve God, prepare for trials.  (Cf Sirach 2: 1)

Your enemy the devil prowls like a lion seeking whom to devour.  (Cf 1 Peter 5: 8).  Therefore, be sober and alert. (Ibid)

Do not forget that He who is with us  is stronger than our enemy.  (Cf Matthew 12: 29)

"But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not prevail.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion."  (Jeremiah 20: 11)

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."   (2 Corinthians 10: 4).

"In my distress I called out: Lord!
I cried out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry to him reached his ears."  (Psalm 18: 7)

On Friday of the 5th Week of Lent 2017, be sober. Be alert.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

God who did not spare His own Son will refuse us nothing which is good for us.

"He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?"  (Romans 8 : 32 NABRE)

Remember the above Scripture when you stand before the Father to ask for anything for yourself, your family, friends or even for the world.
Remember also:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."  (John 3 : 16)

God bound Himself with a covenant oath to be our God forever.

To enjoy continually the Peace of Christ:
#1.  Accept all that has happened.
#2.  Accept everything that is happening.
#3.  Cooperate with everything except with what is sinful.
(Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ)

On Thursday  of the 5th Week of Lent 2017, the Father wants us to rejoice in our filial adoption.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

When you make My word your home, then.....

"Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   (John 8: 31 - 32)

Are you one of the Blessed Ones who believe in Jesus?  Are you enjoying all your privileges?  John 8: 31 - 32 is one of the greatest Scriptures in the New Testament.  There are three great promises laid out by Jesus the Teacher:

#1.  You abide and become the disciple of Jesus.  To serve God is to reign. Pure and simple.
#2.  You know the Truth. The Truth promised is Jesus Himself.  This Truth comes with the knowledge of the Way, Jesus.  See the Beatitudes. (Matthew 5: 3 - 12)
#3.  You enjoy unlimited freedom and victory in your life.  The freedom that is promised is  primarily freedom from sin which is the root cause of illness, divorce, poverty, ignorance, joblessness, aimlessness, etc.

The Secret of appropriating these treasures is:  REMAIN IN THE WORD. That is, make your home in the word of God.

"The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed."  (Isaiah 50: 4)

On Wednesday of the 5th Week of Lent 2017, make the word your home.

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Monday, April 03, 2017

Thou shalt not condemn nor criticize the Lord our God or complain against Him.

"But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”  (Numbers 21 : 4-5 RM)

No matter your frustration or anger, restrain yourself and No Complain, No Criticize, No Condemn the Lord our God.

In punishment for sinning with their mouth against God, "the Lord sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died."  (Numbers 21:  6). The punishment worked.   “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray to the Lord to take the serpents from us.”  (Numbers 21 : 7).

The Lord instructed Moses:  "Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover."  (Numbers 21: 8)

Now lessons for us:
"These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come."  (1 Corinthians 10: 11 NABRE)

"Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled."  (Romans 15: 4 NLT)

On Tuesday of the 5th Week of Lent 2017, No Complain, No Criticize, No Condemn the Lord our God.

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Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Story of 2 Women accused of Adultery.

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery."  (John 8: 4 NABRE)

"A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her."  (Daniel 13: 37 NABRE)

Monday in the 5th Week of Lent, we hear the story of two women accused of adultery.
Susanna was accused by two elderly lustful judges but was innocent.  The other woman in the Gospel of John was accused by the Scribes and Pharisees and was guilty. The punishment for adultery according to the Law of Moses is death.

God's overflowing compassion and mercy intervened through the Prophet Daniel to save the life of Susanna.  Jesus Christ, the Merciful Savior intervened to save the other woman in John's Gospel.  Susanna trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly and the Lord heard her prayers.  (Daniel 13: 42 - 44).  The other woman after her reprieve became a disciple of Jesus.  Both stories ended well.

We must trust in the Mercy of God at all times, guilty or innocent.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me."  (Psalm 23:  4)

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Saturday, April 01, 2017

I have promised, I will do it, says the Lord.

“This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  (John 11: 4 NABRE)

Our adversity is always an opportunity for God to be glorified.  Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary was dead and the sisters sent word to Jesus about it.   Jesus said to Martha:  “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”   (John 11:  40).  And He said, “Lazarus, come out!”  (John 11: 43). And commanded:  “Untie him and let him go.” (John 11: 44).

Are you bound and "tied hand and feet" by Unbelief?  If God can raise Lazarus from the grave after four days, He certainly can restore your marriage, health, finances, job, etc.
Faith is saying YES to God so that He will do what He promises to do.

"I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the LORD."  (Psalm 30: 5 - 6 RM)

On this 5th Sunday of Lent 2017, glorify God by trusting in Him. 

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Friday, March 31, 2017

O Lord, My God, in You I take refuge.

“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered.”  (Jeremiah 11:  19 NABRE)

You would be excused if you think the above Scripture refers to Jesus.  It actually refers to Jeremiah the Prophet.  Jeremiah is here a type of Christ. Throughout the Old Testament, the personality of Jesus is shown through the character and work of key Bible characters.  The struggles of Jeremiah with his enemies will parallel that of Jesus with Jewish leaders.

" I knew it because the Lord informed me: at that time you showed me their doings."  (Jeremiah 11: 18).  Just as Jesus knew all the plots of His adversaries, God revealed to Jeremiah the plots of his enemies.

In Gethsemane, Jesus might have prayed using these sentiments of Jeremiah:

"Lord my God, in you I trusted; save me; rescue me from all who pursue me, Lest someone maul me like a lion, tear my soul apart with no one to deliver."  (Psalm 7: 2 - 3)

In the case of Jesus, the Father did not rescue Jesus from those who seek to destroy Him.

On Day 32 of 40 of Lent 2017,
We pray with the Psalmist,
"Let the malice of the wicked end.
Uphold the just one, O just God, who tries hearts and minds."  Psalm 7: 10)

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

His hour had not yet come.

"So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come."  (John 7: 30 NABRE)

At the fullness of time, Jesus willingly and deliberately gave up Himself to be tortured and crucified.

In God's providence and government, there is a time and season for everything. (Cf Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 8).   There is a time for promises and a time for fulfilment of promises.

"So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come."  (John 7: 30)

On Day 31 of 40 of Lent 2017, the Scriptures today indicate that soon the Hour will come.  Good Friday is near.

Stations of the Cross.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

They forgot the God who had saved them.

“These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”  (Exodus 32: 8 NABRE)

Unbelievable!  Israel forgot the God who had saved them.  They adored molten image of grass-eating beast. How painful this must be to behold.  (Psalm 106: 19 - 23).  How do you feel when you hear from your son or daughter:  "My friend gave this to me."  You see your labor of love attributed to a buddy. 

Abba Father loved the world so much that He gave His Son Jesus to save this world.  (John 3:16).  Yet some people may believe:  "My country loved me so much that it offers me eternal life."

On Day 30 of 40 of Lent 2017, let the People of God remember that every good gift comes from the Father above. (Cf James 1: 17)

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Can a mother be without tenderness for the child of her womb?

“The Lord has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget, I will never forget you."  (Isaiah 49: 14 - 15 NABRE)

The Israelites, true to character moaned that at last the Lord has settled accounts with them by a clean and complete divorce.  The Lord told them:  that is impossible and never going to happen.

Money, money, money, all is money in a rich man's world. Years after the ABBA Group topped the charts with this song, I learned that all is also money in a poor man's world.  Money is one of the big items in life that tempt us to believe:  "The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”  (Isaiah 49: 14).  Jesus addressed this silly worry in Matthew Chapter 6.  The healing Scripture for me on money is below:

"Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13: 5)

On Day 29 of 40 of Lent 2017, the word of God invites us to learn to trust God in everything.  Man does not live on money alone.

Praise and honor to You, LORD Jesus Christ!

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Monday, March 27, 2017

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

“Do you want to be well?”  (John 5: 5 NABRE)

The Lord Jesus asked a man who had been ill for 38 years the above question.   A sure sign that Jesus wants to heal him.  Then He commanded him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”  (John 5: 8).  After a brief interval, Jesus found the now healthy man inside the temple and said to him:  “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.”  (John 5 : 14).

In the world, there is abundant opportunity for our own type of sin:
"For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world."  (1 John 2: 16 NLT)

On Day 28 of 40 of Lent 2017, Jesus asks us:  "Do you want to be well?”  (John 5: 5).  Consider the 7 Deadly Sins and their opposites, the 7 Virtues:

1.  Pride   -   Humility
2.  Greed  -   Generosity
3.   Lust    -    Chastity
4.   Anger  -    Gentleness
5.   Gluttony - Temperance
6.    Envy      -   Brotherly love
7.    Sloth     -   Diligence

We cannot overcome our sins on our own.  With God all things are possible.  (Mark 10: 27).

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

You may go, your distress has been removed.

"Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left."  (John 4: 50 NABRE)

Are you scratching your head trying to understand what faith really is? Above is the best definition of faith in action.  Act according to this model and nothing will be impossible to you.  On top of this, you will receive for asking, the gift of understanding that helps you to perceive what God is doing in your life should He choose to block your path in any project.

The subject of our key Scripture today is described as a "royal official."   His son was healed "and he and his whole household came to believe."  (John 4: 53).  This is amazing and a challenge to all of us.  You may think:  "If only the Lord would perform a great miracle like raising the dead, wiping out cancer and ISIS from the world, I will be believe."  No, you won't.   “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones."  (Luke 16: 10 NLT).  What does this mean?  God is working miracles in your life every single day.  If you do not notice them and give thanks, even if the Lord were to raise a thousand dead people before your eyes, wipe out cancer and ISIS from the world, you will walk away preoccupied by other things.  God's word is a spiritual law. It never fails.

On Day 27 of 40 of Lent 2017, the word of God encourages you to humble yourself and pray:  "Lord, increase our faith." (Luke 17: 5).

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

"Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord."  (Ephesians 5: 10 NABRE)

On Day 26 of 40 of Lent 2017, the word of God asks us to learn what is pleasing to God.  We know that many saints have ran this race and finished well. There are no better examples to teach us about what is pleasing to God than the saints.  Let us consider the example of one saint:

When the Angel Gabriel asked Mary the impossible:  to become the mother of the Son God in her virginhood, Mary replied, "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."  (Luke 1: 38).  Mary discerned that what is pleasing to God is to surrender to the will of God.

The shortest route to be a saint is to discern the will of God for your life every day and do it.

Awake, O sinner, and arise from your sleep, and Christ will give you light.  (Cf Ephesians 5: 14)

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Do not be afraid Mary.

"Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."  (Luke 1: 30 NABRE)

Everybody is familiar with the above scene in the Gospel.  Today the Church everywhere in the world celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. We have seen two Solemnities in the Season of Lent.  The Church following the custom of ancient Israel is full of festivities. It is the will of God and delightful to us.

What are we celebrating today? The beginning of the fulfilment of the promise made to us after Eve ate the forbidden fruit.  The Son of the woman would crush the head of the serpent.   (Genesis 3: 15)

What if any of us has the power to create his mother, what would you do? I will make my mother the most beautiful, the most virtuous, a queen of unparalleled dignity and power.  Jesus Christ has this power and He used it.  Mary was not an accident. She is not just any woman who can conceive and bear a son. She was especially chosen from time immemorial to be the Mother of the Redeemer.

How did the early Church and the same Church today discover the identity of Mary? The Holy Spirit taught the Church.  This knowledge is hidden in the hearts of all believers in every age. This is the Lord's doing. It is wonderful in our eyes. (Cf Psalm 118: 23)

On Day 25 of 40 of Lent 2017, the Church suspends Lent again to celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.  Happy Feast Day.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our God is an awesome God.

"Assyria will not save us, nor will we mount horses;
We will never again say, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion.” (Hosea 14 : 4 NABRE)

I call this 3rd Friday in Lent "NO to IDOLS Friday".  Who is your Assyria? And horses?

"Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, for you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God."  (Psalm 86: 10 RM)

No god to compare with our God:
Not technology, not money, not science, not job or health.  Our God do wonderful things every day.

On Day 24 of 40 of Lent 2017, remember that Jesus was crucified on Friday.

Stations of the Cross.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jesus Christ is the Savior of all people.

"I am the salvation of the people, says the Lord.
Should they cry to me in any distress,
I will hear them, and I will be their Lord for ever."  (Entrance Antiphon Thursday, 3rd Week of Lent)

Jesus Christ is the Hope of Salvation. His name Jesus means Savior (Joshua). Salvation means deliverance, freedom from whatever distress we may have.  Jesus promises to save us if we cry out to Him.

On Day 23 of 40 of Lent 2017, the Liturgy reminds us that Easter is near.  Press forward soldiers of God to the Great Feast!

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."  (Psalm 95: 8)

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Believe the word. Teach the word. Practice the word.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 19 NABRE)

Learn the word, ie commands, statutes, promises, law of God. Believe what you read. Teach what you believe to your children, friends and colleagues. Practice what you teach.

On Day 22 of 40 of Lent 2017,
we commit to persevere in learning the word of God and sharing the fruits of our study.

"However, be on your guard and be very careful not to forget the things your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart as long as you live, but make them known to your children and to your children’s children."  (Deuteronomy 4: 9)

"Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life."   (John 6: 63)

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Struggling with Unforgiveness, pray for the person daily.

"At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’  (Matthew 18: 26 NABRE)

The servant in the above story owed the master a very large debt which he could not possibly repay.  He knew His master and knew what to do and what to say.   "Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan."  (Matthew 18: 27).  How much do you know the most merciful Heart of Jesus?

Why did this servant not follow up by forgiving his fellow servant who owed him a much less debt?  This is the question for our reflection on Day 21 of 40 of Lent 2017.  Do you notice we have done 50% of the Lent?  Congratulations and keep up the good work. Persevere!

Consider too Jesus' words to this unforgiving servant:
"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.   Should  you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?"  (Matthew 18: 32 - 33).
Struggling with Unforgiveness?  Start by praying daily for the person.

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Behold a faithful and prudent steward, whom the LORD set over His Household.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her."  (Matthew 1: 20 NABRE)

On Day 20 of 40 of Lent 2017, the Church suspends Lent for today to honor St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   No fasting. No abstinence. We celebrate the Solemnity of St Joseph with joy and Gloria is sang or said at Mass.  His feast is March 19. March 19, 2017 fell on Sunday.  The feast is celebrated today.

Why honor St Joseph?  St Joseph is a pivotal person in Salvation history.  He was a just man, full of courage, humble and chosen by God to protect Mary and her Son, Jesus.  He suffered patiently as a self-employed business man.  He showed great fortitude when he took his family into Egypt as refugees.  He is a powerful Intercessor.

St Joseph pray for us!

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

If today you hear hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

“Is the Lord in our midst or not?”  (Exodus 17: 7 NABRE)

The children of Israel driven by severe thirst in the desert posed this point blank question to God at Massah and Meribah. This place became known as place of rebellion.

Have you ever been driven by extreme adversity to challenge God?  "O God, where are You?"  The psalmist again and again shout out:   "Answer me God. Don't be deaf to my prayers and my cries for help!"  (Cf Psalm 39: 12, 143: 7, 28:1, 35: 22, etc).  But why would God allow us to be driven to this level of desperation that we rebel?  I have been in many such situation in my life.  I have learned the following:

#1.  God is a Father and a Teacher who knows exactly what we need and is teaching us what is best for us.
#2. Man's extremity is God's opportunity.

God uses our adversities as teaching moment.  What son who is valued by his father does not train him for success and integrity?  (Cf Hebrews 12: 7)

On Day 19 of 40 of Lent 2017,
"Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert."   (Psalm 95:  7 - 8)

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If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

“Is the Lord in our midst or not?”  (Exodus 17: 7 NABRE)

The children of Israel driven by severe thirst in the desert posed this point blank question to God at Massah and Meribah. This place became known as place of rebellion.

Have you ever been driven by extreme adversity to challenge God?  "O God, where are You?"  The psalmist again and again shout out:   "Answer me God. Don't be deaf to my prayers and my cries for help!"  (Cf Psalm 39: 12, 143: 7, 28:1, 35: 22, etc).  But why would God allow us to be driven to this level of desperation that we rebel?  I have been in many such situation in my life.  I have learned the following:

#1.  God is a Father and a Teacher who knows exactly what we need and is teaching us what is best for us.
#2. Man's extremity is God's opportunity.

God uses our adversities as teaching moment.  What son who is valued by his father does not train him for success and integrity?  (Cf Hebrews 12: 7)

On Day 19 of 40 of Lent 2017,
"Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert."   (Psalm 95:  7 - 8)

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Friday, March 17, 2017

I will go and say to my Father. Father forgive me.

"The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in mercy.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures."  (Psalm 145: 8 - 9 RM)

On Day 18 of 40 of Lent 2017, the word of God gives us some Scriptures we need to memorize and repeat every day.  Memorizing and repeating Scriptures is a well attested means of transformation of the mind and heart.  "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."  (Psalm 119: 11)  Here are two more reasons to encourage you to repeat often the Scriptures that touch your heart:

#1.  You are becoming what you believe.
#2.  What transforms your mind and heart is not what you know but what you do everyday.  (Cf John 13 : 17)

"Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts.  Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills, Who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion."  (Psalm 103: 1 - 4)

Glory to You, Word of God, Lord Jesus Christ.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

"Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long ornamented tunic.  When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his brothers, they hated him so much that they could not say a kind word to him."  (Genesis 37: 3 - 4 NABRE)

On Day 17 of 40 of Lent 2017, the word of God reminds us through the story of Joseph and his brothers the narrative of Cain and Abel which we saw in mid February.  "Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him."  (Genesis 4: 8 NABRE)
The motives for the present crime are similar:

#1.  Jealousy, envy, anger, hatred
#2.  Spirit of disobedience
#3.  No fear of God or retribution
Etc, etc.

Consider the consequences:
Murder, fratricide, racism, war.

The brothers of Joseph sold him to traders en route to Egypt for 20 pieces of silver.  Both Abel and Joseph are types of Jesus.  As we approach the great feast of Easter, watch out for other types of Jesus.

"When the LORD called down a famine on the land and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
They had weighed him down with fetters, and he was bound with chains, till his prediction came to pass and the word of the LORD proved him true."  (Psalm 105: 16 - 18 RM)

Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Do not put your trust in princes.

"Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord."  (Jeremiah 17: 5 NABRE)

Why such a severe curse on anyone who trusts in human being? To get our attention.  Some people trust in humans to provide them with  job, money and even life.  The Bible warns again and again, put no trust in man or in princes or in horses and chariots (tanks, fighter bombers, etc). (Cf Psalm 118: 8; 146: 3)

The fellow who trusts in humans or themselves is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season.  (Jeremiah 17: 6).  Just like the 4 Seasons in nature, are the seasons of a man's life.  Spring follows winter.

On Day 16 of 40 of Lent 2017, the word of God asks us: Who do you trust?

"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord; the Lord will be their trust. They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It does not fear heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit."  (Jeremiah 17: 7 - 8 NABRE)

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My destiny, my security is in Your hands, O Lord my God.

"My destiny is in your hands."  (Psalm 31:  16 NABRE)

Are you delighted to know that your destiny, your total security is 100% in the hands of God?  God's most loving Providence watches over every moment of our life with utmost diligence. So diligent, that not a single hair falls from our head without His permission.  (Luke 12: 7, Luke 21: 18, Matthew 10: 30)

In order to appropriate this blessing, you must believe.  Faith is believing that what God says is true. God never fails, no matter what.  What we believe makes us what we are.  Correct belief is the key to correct action.

On Day 15 of 40 of Lent 2017, God invites us to trust wholeheartedly in His most loving and powerful providence:

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."  (Matthew 6: 33 - 34 NLT)

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